In a wrongful-death lawsuit filed Tuesday against the team in Jackson County, Mo., Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, said Chiefs officials "directly caused or directly contributed" to Belcher developing "irresistable" and "insane" impulses because of brain damage he sustained while playing for the team.
"Over the course of a four-year career in the
A Chiefs spokeswoman told The Times on Wednesday that team officials had no plans to comment on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit opens another chapter for football officials, who have been grappling with mounting evidence that many of the sport's players have contracted mental disorders after suffering multiple concussions over the years.
In August, the NFL reached a tentative $765-million legal settlement with former players after several athletes were diagnosed with
Several players who have committed suicide in recent years, including
, were diagnosed with the disorder, commonly called CTE.
The Belcher lawsuit was filed 2 1/2 weeks after his body was exhumed in
The lawsuit also claims the Chiefs coaching staff and front office administrators "engaged in a systematic campaign of mental abuse to 'motivate' [Belcher] to play through his injuries," including calling him a "mistake" and threatening to kick him off the team.
The lawsuit also says the team failed to appropriately hold Belcher back from play at least twice after he suffered concussions, including a Nov. 18, 2012, game against the
"He was pretty convinced he'd suffered multiple concussions that last year," a friend, Kash Kiefer, told Bleacher Report after Belcher's death. "He was not himself. I remember a bunch of times he would lose his train of thought while talking to me. He'd be talking about something, and he would just blank. I'd say, 'Man, are you OK?' and he'd come back 'Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.' But he was skipping over thoughts, unable to gather it all together. That was new."